Autumn activities!

Of course putting in another crop also helps to keep you in your garden and out of the supermarket’s fluorescent glow for just a little longer…

The lack of really severe heat waves means we can start to have more success with Asian style veggies such as pak choy and bok choy.  These guys love to be grown fast in highly fertile soil with lots of water.  As pretty as they are to admire, don’t let them get too big or they’ll get stringier than a dental floss convention.  You can see I’m growing pak choy and some coral lettuces amongst other things in a wall garden where I’ve got lots of control over the soil fertility, snails and watering.  If you put asian greens just anywhere they’ll be on the top of the menu for your local slug and snail population, trust me.

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Mixing it up with the Asian greens, it is also a good time to plant traditional winter vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli.  With soil temps still high you’ll get fast growth while the milder weather will cause the white cabbage butterfly populations to settle down.  In a future post I’ll discuss some strategies for dealing with these in a way that doesn’t involve poisoning your harvest!

Now the cabbage family are BIG feeders.  That means if you just remove your tomatoes, tidy up the soil and plant your new seedlings you’ll be no doubt disappointed with the results.  Make sure you FEED THE SOIL ideally with compost, well rotted animal manure, worm castings, blood and bone etc.  Here’s some homemade compost using only grass clippings.  This stuff is so good it puts hair on your arms!

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Remember, the vegetables we eat today didn’t just happen.   They really are MONSTER PLANTS that we have evolved to meet our nutritional needs as big brained mammals.  So while we’ve been teaching ourselves to garden more appropriately in our dry and depleted Australian soils over recent decades, we can’t expect highly bred and evolved plants such as this crop of a ripper cabbages to just grow without any help!

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